Dr. Fakira Mohan Nahak
THE TELEVISION NEWS INDUSTRY IN ODISHA HAS GONE THROUGH A PROGRESSIVE JOURNEY IN THE PAST TWO DECADES. IN THIS SERIES DR. FAKIRA MOHAN NAHAK PRESENTS THE MEDIA HISTORY BLENDED WITH HIS CLOSE OBSERVATION ON THE FAST-CHANGING INDUSTRY.
After overcoming challenges in the initial stage, the OTV gradually rose to the top of popularity. Regular news bulletins weren’t the only thing behind this. Some unique programs helped to enrich it further.
All those programs became favourites of the audience over the years. When a program can help to change the lifestyle and standard of living of many people, then it is obvious for viewers to show interest and develop weakness for that program.
Programs related to three “C”s – Crime, Cricket & Cinema have always been on the top of priority for television channels. Glamorous television media don’t have enough time to talk about common people or their problem. However OTV has been doing a commendable job in reporting the stories of the downtrodden, the poor, the impoverished, the marginalized, the neglected and the humiliated and their plight.
OTV has been presenting such a program called “Apana Eka Nuhanti” which literally means “You Are Not Alone” for the past twelve years. This program has gained immense popularity among the viewers and has become the voice of the common people.
The program started in 2010. Swadheen Raut, a senior member of OTV, and Manas Ranjan Sahu were initially in charge of producing the program. The same program was getting aired under a different name called ‘OTV Helpline’ when OTV was a cable television channel.
Initially the program was presented by Bhavani Shankar Mahapatra. Later Swadheen Raut, Apurba Ranjan Panda and Sachitrananda Panda presented it.
The program is a slightly different from regular television reporting. Even producing just one episode a week is a big challenge as every week it is difficult to find a new story, a new character and a new incident of neglect. However, OTV regularly produced these episodes.
Through this program of OTV, the only objective is to speak about the problems of the common people and draw the attention of the administration. This writer, from his research on OTV during his Doctoral studies, found that development journalism was not given the space it needed in the daily news bulletins. This is not only the situation in Odisha, rather the case in world’s most of the television channels.
“Apana Eka Nuhanti” is a complete exception of this trend. It is undoubtedly one of the finest case studies for the scholars interested in doing research on development journalism.
While talking about his experiences, Swadheen says, after learning that the only pole connecting some villages had collapsed, OTV reported the incident from ground zero. And after the broadcast of that news, it attracted the immediate attention of the administration and the government. As a result, swift action was taken by the administration and the pole could be constructed there.
Many villages lacked roads or there was no sign of electricity connection in the villages. “You are not alone” brought the problem to the attention of authorities and later it became possible to build roads and get electricity connection for the people.
The program has told stories of many retired people where no pension has been received for years and whose files have been lying unattended for many years in the government office. It reported many incidents of government officials pushing someone’s file under their desk or run over a bribe. Being the crusader of the common man, the program has solved many such stories of struggle and suffering.
There are so many talented students in our state who deserve higher education. But poverty has become a major obstacle for them. OTV has become the voice of all those students.
Through the “Apana Eka Nuhanti” program, many students of the village have been able to acquire higher education with various government and private assistance. This channel has become a timeless friend of hundreds of people lacking basic health care and suffering from various chronic diseases, and has helped them in all areas, even by arranging hospitalization for their treatment.
After reporting about the sufferings, problems and poverty of the people, not only the government or the administration has been quick and provided help in this direction, but also the intellectuals in different parts of the country and abroad have extended their helping hand.
As a result of which the concerned sufferer is immediately relieved. “Apana Eka Nuhanti” is still being aired as a weekly program. Around 600 episodes have been aired so far. The program has truly become the voice of the common man.
(Dr. Fakira Mohan Nahak is a writer and former media professional. He is currently working as the Head of the Department of University Institute of Media Studies, Chandigarh University at Mohali, Punjab. Views are Personal)